Work pressure and "bonus resentment" is fueling a white collar crime wave, said a PriceWaterhouse Coopers survey. The study also found that middle managers desperate to carry on enjoying a high standard of living are turning to fraud in greater numbers. About 43% of firms in the survey said they had been the victim of some type of economic crime over the last 12 months. That number is up from 32% two years ago.
Tony Parton, a PWC partner, said companies are being battered by a "perfect storm of economic crime" triggered by the harsh economic climate. He said: "Fraudsters can come from anywhere, but those feeling the tightest financial pinch are more likely to get involved. Middle managers on middle incomes may have stretched themselves with high mortgage repayments or school fees. And they are now facing pay freezes and less certain prospects for future employment."
According to the study, when firms were asked why they thought the crimes were being committed the most common response was a desperate desire to "maintain current living standards" and a feeling that the windfalls were "unfair."
The report said that the top industries which are most likely to be hit are communications, hospitality and leisure, financial services and insurance.
The most common type of crime was asset misappropriation, followed by financial statement fraud, money laundering, bribery, tax fraud and insider trading.